Thursday, 5 May 2016

A date with pristine Colombo

Here I am in Colombo, discovering the area on foot and tuk-tuk. The absence of high rises in the city, the clear blue sky and fresh air is mesmerizing! And yes, I shouldn't forget to mention, the low density of population and vehicles (for someone coming from Delhi and Guwahati and Saharanpur, this itself is a breath of fresh air). And the city is clean. The houses, streets and buildings are so clean.

So here's a photo essay of my morning today (and as usual, my photographs have not been photoshopped. It's in natural light.). As I walked about, the green landscape kept me company. So did various species of birds who walked or flew alongside, not afraid of the human presence.

This is the BnB where I am staying. It is run by Jay Abeynayake and his wife Ridma. A lovely couple, most friendly and helpful. I found them on airbnb. Anyone planning a trip to Colombo, and looking to stay in the outskirts can get in touch with them. 
They are at 0773429466.

The kitchen area

And that's me getting ready to explore the neighborhood in the morning.

Right outside Jay and Ridma's beautiful BnB.

I walked down to the Pillawa Temple, about 20 mins on foot from where I am staying. This is the road to the temple and it is lined by shops selling flowers to be offered at the temple.

Friendly flower vendors. 

Another one...

This little bridge leads straight to the temple

Pillawa Temple is  mainly this statue of Lord Buddha and the Bodhi tree behind the statue. 

This is the Bodhi Tree. What I have liked about the Sri Lankans is that they pay so much respect to trees and nature. No wonder the city is such a green belt.

See who gave me company on the road...

Another winged friend...

Two's company <3

The Colombo sky

More winged friends on the road

As I walked further down from Pillawa Temple, I came up to this little road where the wall by its side has interesting graffiti.

Soon I reached the Bellanwila Temple. This too is a Buddhist temple like Pillawa.


Inside the temple

Beautiful frescoes on the walls and ceilings of the temple

And giant statues of the Buddha in different positions

This is the sleeping Buddha with devotees around him...

Some devotees even mounted on the walls...

so peaceful....

Inside the Bellanwila Temple premises 

"This temple is considered so sacred that there is a long cherished belief that a child who treads the ground under the shade of its scared Bodhi-tree will never fail in life.
Situated in the outskirts of the city of Colombo, in the village of Bellanwila, just three kilometers from the city limits, Bellanwila temple has a long and hallowed history. The great sanctity attached to the temple is due to its sacred Bodhi-tree. There is authorative literary evidence in ancient texts such as the Sinhala Bodhivamsaya which records that this Bodhi-tree is one of the thirty two saplings that sprang from the sacred Bodhi-tree at Anuradhapura planted in the 3rd century B.C.E. The recorded tradition is as follows: There were five twigs in the Bodhi-sapling that was brought from India to Sri Lanka and planted in the Mahameghavana at Anuradhapura. When the sapling had grown into a tree, eight new saplings sprang from its eastern side. These are called the astaphalaruka-Bodhi-trees and they were planted at eight different spots on the Island. From the other four original branches sprang thirty-two additional saplings which were also distributed throughout the Island. One such plant is the sacred Bodhi-tree at Bellanwila." 
Source: Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara (

From Bellanwila, I took a tuk-tuk to the Hotel Mount Lavinia. Here's a photo of me on the rear-view mirror :) and of the tuk-tuk. 

And this is at the Hotel Mount Lavinia, a colonial heritage hotel.

Legend has it that it used to be a British Governor's house. And this Governor had fallen in love with a local woman who was training to be an entertainer. Such was his ardent love and passion for her that he got a secret passage built in the building (which is still there in the hotel) to sneak her in every night. And the way this love story is still connected to the hotel building is so haunting!  

This is at the private beach of Mount Lavinia Hotel. 

Only a few days ago was I telling Nadeem that I wanted to go to a beach. And Colombo happened! Touchwood :)

At the Mount Lavinia Hotel seafood restaurant, built like a shack overlooking the Indian ocean and the beach. I sat there listening to the sea, sipping local Sri Lankan beer (Lion Lager). 

Pretty girls attending a wedding at Mount Lavinia Hotel

Welcoming guests the traditional way at Mount Lavinia Hotel!

The quaint railway station right by the hotel, since the days of the British.

And look at that palm!

This is a photograph of Jay and Ridma's place again. I am in Colombo for one more day. And I sit here thinking how to make it as relaxing and beautiful as today... 

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